Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Pansing
Buy: Available at all good bookstores!
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Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him–at least not yet. 

Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.

Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl; she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl.

I'm a little bit tired of the trope of books being described as "John Green meets Rainbow Rowell," because while they are both excellent authors, it's completely overdone. However, I was still super excited to read Our Chemical Hearts. Koi (maybe?) fish on the cover! A cool and very strange title! A romance with a girl who might possibly (most likely) have a secret! All signs point to me not being disappointed by this book. And–I'm extremely happy to say–I wasn't! This novel was absolutely gorgeous. I fell in love with the characters, the writing, and the story.

The characters were a breath of fresh air. Sure, we have the typical lanky, somewhat-confident (and self-proclaimed) nerd stereotype as our main character, but how could you not love Henry??? With dozens of film references to movies that I've actually seen (film and television major over here!), and a sense of humour is hilariously on point, I found myself falling head over heels for him. For me, a male protagonist is either a hit or a miss, and I'm so glad that Henry's character exceeded my expectations. I loved his friends as well! La was fierce and level-headed with an awesome snarky side, while Muz was this loveable Aussie idiot. I mean, I actually burst out laughing during some parts of the book. Observe:

'Mads. Mate. You still date that clodhopper of a bloke that goes there–which is a travesty, but the way–so that means you know a thing or two. Seeta Ganguly. Senior at East River. Suss out the sitch with her love life. Your payment'–Murray slipped something into Madison's jean pocket–'will be lucrative.'
       Madison took out the folded paper and inspected it. 'This is an expired coupon for Pizza Hut.'
       'There's plenty more where that came from.' Murray leaned in and whispered close to Madison's ear. 'Rendezvous tomorrow afternoon at your locker. You know where it is. Oh, and if anyone asks–we were never here.' Murray walked backward into the crowd then, and tried to do one of those Jason Bourne disappearing-into-thin-air tricks, but we both saw him dive into the girls' bathroom.
–p. 91, ARC*
*text is subject to change in the final version

I also really loved Henry's family. His parents are just AWESOME. I mean, their parenting styles are #goals. Sadie, Henry's older sister, is super cool, too. I like it when young adult fiction actually has great families, especially parents who know how to parent (and it also totally helps that they're funny!).

Grace on the other hand... I don't know. I felt like she was supposed to be this typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl, except she wasn't. There was actually a part of the novel where La and Henry discuss whether or not she is an MPDG. I mean, she's kind of got that vibe to her, but I think she's actually the alternative MPDG. Definitely more likeable than one–oh, for sure. So while, I didn't like her "fickle" nature to begin with, it becomes clearer later on in the novel once her story unravels and the small mystery that is Grace is revealed.

What I enjoyed the most about Our Chemical Hearts was the raw and realistic portrayal of love, loss and friendship. There's not exactly a happy ending, and that resonated with me, because life obviously doesn't always have happy endings. I like the growth that all the characters go through, and how things turn out at the end of the story isn't what you would've expected to happen. Excellently written, and guaranteed to make you laugh and cry, Krystal Sutherland's debut is charming, and will enthral you from start to finish. I can't wait to see how they adapt this into a film–I'm optimistic in hoping that it will capture the beauty of the story.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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1 comment:

  1. Now I really have to read this book after your review. This is my favorite genre. I love the cover too!


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